Free UK Art Events

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Did you know that the UK is home to some 212,000 oil paintings housed in museums and public institutions across the UK? Thanks to a partnership between the BBC and a charity, the Public Catalogue Foundation, all these paintings are now online for everyone to admire, all of the time. You can now enjoy these national treasures from the comfort of your sofa!

Artist Studio: Ruza Bagaric / Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009 / 20090926.10D.54595.P1.L1 / SML

More than 37,000 artists’ work makes up the UK’s National Collection most of which are British.  You’ll also find paintings by world-renowned artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Raphael.  Having the UK’s national collection of oil paintings online is a huge achievement especially for art lovers.  At any one time 80% of the collection may not be on public view if there is limited display space or where certain paintings require repair or conservation.  Being able to view these national treasures online is a huge step forward and allows UK residents and those on holiday in the UK to understand the history of the nation through art.

Van Gogh Museum - Sunflowers, 1889

To celebrate this achievement, some of the UK’s most iconic paintings will be projected onto buildings up and down the country between 4.30pm and 10pm this evening.  From Norwich to Aberdeen and York to Carrickfergus, there are 28 sites across the country where you will be able to view oil masterpieces displayed on iconic buildings.  At each building four works of national interest will be displayed such as Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ as well as three paintings specific to the region.  To see the full list of events and find out if there is an event near you, visit the BBC website.


York, Clifford's Tower

The fun doesn’t stop there either!  On Saturday 9th February, free ‘Big Art Canvas’ are taking place across the UK where you can paint a square of canvas which will become part of a huge public masterpiece.  Events take place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are on a first come, first served basis so it’s a good idea to get there early if you’ve been inspired by tonight’s art.

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